Communications and engagement specialist turned advisory strategist

Mandi Davidson, Executive Strategy Manager - Advisory

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Mandi is a leader and consultant with more than 20 years’ experience helping organisations and projects to achieve their objectives through strategic communication and stakeholder engagement. Recently transitioning into a new role as Strategic Development Manager for our Australia Asia Pacific Advisory team, we spoke to Mandi about career highlights, quotes to live by, and the role of flexibility in breaking down gender bias.

QTell us about your role at RPS – what do you do?

I’m very new in the role of Executive Strategy Manager, Advisory. This year I will be working with the Australia Asia Pacific Advisory Leadership Team to develop and implement a growth strategy for RPS that excites and inspires our team.

Quick Q&A

Name a woman who inspires you

New Zealand Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern – what’s not to love about a female Prime Minister who had her first child while in office!

Who is a woman advisory leader that people should know about?

Too many to name – we have such talented women leaders in the RPS Advisory team – Jo Lewis, Laura Stewart, Vanessa Pilla, Megan McBride, Kate Eskdale...

As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I only wanted to be a journalist. I did my first work experience at TV Hits magazine when I was about 14.

What are you up to when you’re not at work?

I’m preparing to do the Three Capes Walk in Tassie, and then in May I’m participating in Coastrek with three of my cousins to raise money for Beyond Blue.

QWhat inspired you to get into communications and engagement?

I started my career in journalism and transitioned to communications and engagement because it enabled me to work directly with people to get the best outcomes for them and their communities.

I was involved with the International Association of Public Participation (IAP2) at a local and international level, and I’m taking some of the values of IAP2 into my role as Executive Strategy Manager.

IAP2 is founded on the belief that those who are affected by a decision have a right to be involved in the decision-making process, and it communicates to participants how their input affected the decision. I will be taking those aspirations into my new role to ensure that our talented team is involved in the decisions about where we go next.

QCareer highlights so far?

My involvement with IAP2 international – from facilitating conversations about better engagement for The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) in Bangkok, to being involved in discussions about diversity and building more resilient communities in the US, not to mention the amazing friends I made.

QWhat was the best/most useful thing you did to further your career?

I stumbled across a Robert Kiyosaki quote about a decade ago that I have lived by ever since: “The richest people in the world look for and build networks. Everyone else looks for work”.

QWhat do you think that the consulting industry is getting right in terms of addressing gender bias/equality, and what do we still need to look at?

We’ve come such a long way with flexibility over the past couple of years (something to thank COVID for!). My daughter started school this year and there is no way I would have imagined a few years ago that I could move to a four-day week and work two of those days at home so I could walk her to school and pick her up again.

Remote working has also opened opportunities for our team to work across borders more – meaning we can put the best person for the job forward no matter where they are. This is important for breaking the bias because it means that women with family commitments, who find constant travel difficult, still have the same opportunities to learn and grow.

I hope that clients can keep an open mind about location when we return to office-based working. I think it results in better outcomes for everyone.

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